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Chipotle names former Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt as its next CMO

By Published on .

Chipotle names Chris Brandt as its next CMO, effective April 2.
Chipotle names Chris Brandt as its next CMO, effective April 2. Credit: Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill's next chief marketing officer is Chris Brandt, who, just like the company's new CEO, used to run marketing at Taco Bell.

Brandt starts his new role April 2, the struggling fast-casual chain said Tuesday. His appointment comes after Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Mark Crumpacker resigned last week.

Brandt will report to Brian Niccol, who joined Chipotle as CEO on March 5 after serving as CEO at Taco Bell. It's a reunion: Brandt reported to Niccol when the two worked together at Taco Bell on the marketing behind hits including the Doritos Locos Tacos.

"Chris is an extremely talented and effective marketing executive," Niccol said in a statement.

When Niccol was promoted to president of Taco Bell in 2013, it was Brandt who took over as CMO. "Having worked with Chris in the past, I have seen first-hand his ability to generate sales overnight and build brands over time," Niccol said.

Brandt arrives as Chipotle continues to try to recover from foodborne illness issues that led to steep declines in its sales and stock price starting in 2015.

Since then, its marketing efforts have comprised everything including food giveaways, buy-one-get-one offers, TV commercials, an online show for kids and a musical collaboration with the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA. Crumpacker, who oversaw such efforts, had been CMO since 2009 and was later elevated to the title of chief marketing and strategy officer.

Brandt's last role at Taco Bell was chief brand and marketing officer. He left the fast feeder in 2016 and since then was executive VP and chief brand officer at Bloomin' Brands, which runs chains including Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming's.

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